Offspring Managing Editor, Kate Durak, reviews thermage skin tightening treatment.

I recently had Thermage on my face at Balabala Laser Clinic in Hay Street, Perth. The results for Thermage are fantastic. In my opinion, it is the best option currently on the market for skin tightening and lifting that does not require surgery.

I am a 45-year-old mother of two, and I am conscious of sagging skin, particularly around my jowls Thermage is fantastic for lifting the skin. There is no downtime, and the results are natural, taking three months to fully manifest. Based on experience, the treatment lasts more than a year.

I discussed my skin aging concerns and options with the knowledgeable and attentive staff at Balabala Laser Clinic. The therapists were very experienced and professional. I immediately felt comfortable and at ease when meeting with my therapist, who listened carefully to my needs and concerns.

My therapist explained that, during ageing, the elastin and collagen in the skin break down faster than the body can rebuild. This causes wrinkles, skin laxity and pockets of loose, sagging skin.

The Thermage treatment takes around 45 minutes, and it is a non-surgical skin treatment that stimulates the production of new connective tissue in the dermis and rebuilds and reinforces the skin from within. There is no downtime.

Thermage uses radiofrequency technology to heat the skin and stimulate collagen renewal in the skin’s deeper layers. The heat energy is focused on a precise depth within the skin, and cooling technology protects the upper epidermal layers. This technique improves the smoothness and texture of the skin’s surface.

The device was applied all over my face in small sections. I could feel slight pressure and a deep warming sensation – this indicates that collagen is reaching an adequate temperature for tightening the skin.

I felt very relaxed in the clinic, and my skin instantly looked brighter and tighter, and I experienced no redness from the treatment.

The Thermage treatment immediately tightens the existing collagen structures and then continues improvement over the next six months as collagen production is activated.

A month following treatment, I am pleased with the results – my skin has tightened and feels smoother and glowing.

A curated list of the coolest Aussie mum-owned stores to browse, ranging from beauty to jewellery to baby essentials!


Photo via Instagram @HausofDizzy

Haus of Dizzy

Haus of Dizzy founder Kristy Dickinson, proud Wiradjuri woman and single mum designs and hand makes beautiful, playful statement jewellery that celebrates her culture and often communicates a strong social and political message.

Eco Tan by Sonya Driver

Founded by mother, Sonya Driver, after a period of life upheaval, Eco Tan offers a beautiful range of certified organic skincare, tanning and body care products. Sonya has since launched a not-for-profit ‘The Miracle Made Foundation’ that assists in creating jobs for the local community and beyond.

Rudie Nudie Designs

New mum, Jacqui, knew the importance of nappy free play for little ones but was equally aware of the hassle the mess it involved caused. Enter Nudie Rudie, machine washable, waterproof playmats with a soft snuggly overlay. Taking the mess out of nappy free time in style.


Jellystone Designs

Mum of three, Claire, took on Jellystone Designs as a creative outlet, since then the brand has flourished taking home awards, introducing new team members and building their collections. Jellystone is the industry leader in creating ‘functional, safe and fun silicone teethers, toys, and oral input devices.’

Billie and Byron

A beautiful curation of products for babyhood. Billie and Byron was founded by former journalist, Lauren Dunne, whilst on maternity leave. Toys, clothing, nursery décor, keepsakes, gifts and essentials are stocked from an array of Australian owned brands.

Photo via Instagram @sarahmariefahd

Tmrw Kids

An online marketplace for children’s clothing and accessories founded and curated by husband-and-wife Sarah and Matty Fahd. Tmrw stands for ‘Today Must Right our Wrongs’ and represents their sustainable methods. Supporting local brands, maintaining affordability, environmental consciousness and bringing joy to kids’ fashion are the cornerstones of their business.


Product Review: Offspring Magazine editor, Kate Durack, has Aesthetics Rx anti-aging skin peel

I am a 45-year-old mother of two, and I am becoming conscious of my skin aging, sagging and wrinkling, so I am keen to try various products and treatments that offer possible solutions. I was recently offered to experience an anti-aging rejuvenate skin peel by Aesthetics RX at Silk Laser Clinic in Karrinyup.

For the 10 days prior to the peel treatment, I was encouraged by a skin expert from Aesthetics Rx to form a morning and night step-by-step beauty regime. This regime consisted of eight recommended products by Aesthetics Rx to get my skin in the best condition before the peel.

The eight products included their Revitalising Foaming Cleanser, C serum, B serum, Ultimate Serum, A serum, Spf30 with Zinc, Daily Moisturiser Hydrating and H20 balm. In addition, it was also recommended I cease using hair removal techniques such as electrolysis and wax or laser on the face and not go in the direct sun without SPF30-50. I was also asked to avoid hair colouring, straightening and hair drying treatments.

The Rejuvenate Peel by Aesthetics Rx is a 20-minute treatment designed to activate cell turnover and exfoliate the skin’s surface to reveal a brighter, more hydrated, youthful complexion with reduced congestion and hyperpigmentation. The benefits of this peel include:

  • Combating skin ageing for the appearance of a youthful complexion.
  • Improving the cell renewal process.
  • Reducing the appearance of fine lines.
  • Assisting and improving the appearance of congestion and acne.

Aesthetics Rx uses skin-reviving ingredients to help renew the dermis of the skin, where two essential proteins live, collagen and elastin, which act as building blocks for your skin. Aesthetics Rx products ingredients include hydroxy acids, vitamins A and C to produce signals to turn on the production of collagen cells. As a result, the damaged dermis is pushed down deeper into the skin with new collagen production, essentially allowing a nicer ‘new’ layer to emerge.

Immediately after my skin treatment by Aesthetics Rx, my skin felt rejuvenated and clean, with a slight sensation of tightness. However, I was left with hydrated and glowing skin. I experienced no downtime, and I was pleased with the results.

Product Review: Five cosmetic skincare brands that will leave your skin glowing

These skin care products can treat various common skin concerns, such as aging skin, dry skin, dull skin, oily skin, and it even includes skincare suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The types of skincare products include moisturisers, oils, serums, cleansers and SPF. Here is a breakdown of the top five brands that will leave your skin glowing throughout the year.

Enbacci Complete Body Lotion

Enbacci Complete Body Lotion is bursting with skin-loving ingredients that nourish and hydrate your whole body. This body lotion is formulated with the stem cells of the Saponaria Pumila (Dwarf Soapwart) plant, which has the power to protect your skin from daily environmental challenges, renew your skin barrier to promote elasticity and skin firming. Other ingredients include Sunflower Seed Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Macadamia Nut Oil and vitamins A, B and C, which will leave your skin feeling soft and reduce the appearance of fine lines ideal for anti-ageing.

RTP: $80.00 at www.enbacci.com

ESK Pregnancy Kit

This pregnancy kit is a safe and rejuvenating five products all scientifically crafted for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. With the benefits of the best anti-aging ingredients that scientific evidence has to offer, it excludes chemicals that may be harmful to your baby and is also gentle enough for a period that often sees changes in your skin.

Hydroxy Cleanser – Those with normal to oily skin will appreciate this non-foaming/soap-free cleanser that makes skin look fresh and rejuvenated. Thanks to the key ingredients of alpha and beta hydroxy acids, which help cleanse gently and exfoliate the skin leaving it feeling conditioned and smooth.

B Calm – Beyond instant hydration, this facial moisturiser will help calm sensitized, oily or acne prone skin. It contains vitamin B3 5% which play a role in managing the skins natural oil production, and acne and rosacea. This B calm is a great anti-inflammatory agent to add into your beauty regime.

Zinc Shade Zinc is a critical component to add to your skincare routine if you want to protect your skin from the sun. Zinc shade is a daily moisturiser that gives you all the protection you need from UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. In addition, it helps minimise the appearance of skin aging and improve the appearance of photoaged skin.

Smooth Serum Hydroxy Acid exfoliating serum for use at night. Renews the skin by promoting skin cell turnover. The result: a more balanced and smoother skin and a more even skin tone.

Englighen – Light moisturising cream with niacinamide and a tyrosinase inhibitor depigmenting ingredient. Niacinamide is an effective multipurpose ingredient, having evidence for managing the skin’s natural oil production, acne and rosacea. It also has evidence for improving the skin’s barrier function, reducing hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and fine lines, and acting as an anti-inflammatory agent.

RTP: $351.00 at www.eskcare.com

skinstitut Collagen Plus

Collagen Plus, by skinstitut,  combines peptides with antioxidants to improve health vitality and appearance. It uses vitamins and botanical extracts to aid absorption and strengthen the skin barrier, reducing free radical damage.

Collagen Plus incorporates the following ingredients:

●  Hydrolysed Marine Collagen supplements the body’s natural collagen to help support healthy hair, skin and nails.

●  Vitamin C helps with collagen absorption, improving skin texture, fine lines, wrinkles and skin laxity.

●  Vitamin E is high in antioxidants and helps support cell function and skin health.

●  Zinc helps to repair skin due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

●  Grape Seed Extracts is high in antioxidants and can help improve collagen synthesis and reduce inflammation.

RTP: $49.00 at skinstitut.com

skinstitut Moisturiser Defence Ultra-Dry

If you’re someone that suffers from dry skin, mild eczema, dermatitis, or premature aging, this skinstitut Moisturiser Defence Ultra-Dry will become a lifesaver. It will leave your skin feeling hydrated and nourished all day whilst revving up the skin’s natural collagen and elastin production, which is ideal for keeping that youthful glow.

$49.00 – 50ml at www.skinstitut.com

We Are Feel Good Coco Milk

The Coco Milk from We Are Feel Good strikes a nice balance of a lushly emollient moisturising experience that leaves skin feeling soft and comfortably hydrated but not greasy. This moisturiser is enriched with natural ingredients like Coconut Oil, Macadamia Oil, Aloe Vera, Shea Butter and Vitamin E to leave your skin feeling silky smooth all day long. Also, you will not get over this delicious smell of coconut.

$24.95 at www.wearefeelgoodinc.com.au

We Are Feel Good Sunscreen Lotion Spf50

We are Feel Good Sunscreen Lotion Spf50 helps temper skin’s oily shine while protecting from UV damage. This sunscreen will last up to 4 hours water resistant to give you maximum coverage without feeling greasy on your skin.

$27.95 – 200ml at www.wearefeelgoodinc.com.au

Revitalising Foaming Cleanser

If you want a gentle cleanser to use twice a day to reduce redness and increase skin elasticity, this cleanser is for you. This gel-type foaming cleanser removes makeup, oil and pollution while soothing and moisturising the skin. Just some of the skin-loving ingredients include Aloe Vera Juice, Panthenol (vitamin B), Grapefruit, Spearmint and Essential Oils to ensure your skin is left feeling moisturised and calmed all day.

$59.00 – 125ml at aestheticsrx.com.au

Daily Moisturiser Hydrating

This light moisturiser is packed with antioxidants that will help protect your skin from day to day environmental and sun damage. It has got all the skin-boosting ingredients from Edelweiss, Kakadu Plum Extract, Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E and Essential Oils that will make your skin feel smoother than ever.

$99.00 – 50ml at aestheticsrx.com.au

C serum 23%

Aesthetics C serum is cult-favourite for a good reason – it is packed with powerful antioxidants complex of l-ascorbic and ferulic acids to reveal a brighter, firmer, and more-even looking complexion. It will eliminate and repair the visible signs of ageing caused by environmental stressors like the sun. This serum boasts antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid to help brighten skin and fight signs of premature aging.

$109.00 – 30ml at aestheticsrx.com.au

B Serum

If you’re someone who suffers from dry skin, this 48-moisture serum is a must-have! This serum is packed with all the good stuff to revitalise and strengthen your skin. This concentrated serum delivers intense hydration and nourishment while reviving the skin’s natural collagen production and stimulating fibroblast. In addition, it contains all the essential ingredients such as Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Hyaluronic Acid and Sodium that your skin needs to glow.

$109.00 – 30ml at aestheticsrx.com.au

Ultimate Serum

The ultimate serum is packed with all the good stuff to give tired, dull, pigmentated and ageing skin the boost it needs. This serum includes Niacinamide, Salicylic Acid and Botanical Extracts. Niacinamide (a form of Vitamin B3) is the main ingredient to reduce the look of pores and appearance of wrinkles and keep your skin hydrated, plumped and glowing.

$109.00 – 30ml at aestheticsrx.com.au

H20 Balm

Protect and replenish the skin with this H2o balm. The H2o balm is a soft, fragrance-free balm formulated to help protect, heal, and regenerate the skin. The key ingredient in the H2o balm is polysaccharides, which assists with scar healing, repair, and restoration. This balm is often recommenced following laser and skin treatments.

$99.00 – 125ml at aestheticsrx.com.au


SPF30 with Zinc

Any good skincare routine should start with an SPF. This Aesthetics RX sunscreen provides broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection thanks to the mineral sunscreen zinc oxide without adding extra oils. Ingredients such as zinc will protect your face from UV rays without feeling sticky or heavy on the skin.

$59.00 – 75ml at aestheticsrx.com.au

Sun exposure is the number one cause of skin ageing. So how does it happen and what can you do to reverse the damage?

Up to 90% of visible ageing is attributed to sun exposure. This means that the expensive eye cream you treated yourself to last month is useless if you’ve not layered a good amount of SPF underneath. A quarter of a teaspoon is recommended for the face, and another quarter for the neck. Yes, even in the winter.

SPF is the number one anti-wrinkle, anti-dark spot, anti-sagging product available. And research has shown that it’s never too late to start protecting your skin. Even people with significant sun damage who started using a broad-spectrum sunscreen later in life saw a noticeable reduction in every visible sign of ageing.

Woman shades herself from sun

UVA radiation can penetrate through clouds and glass, so it should be worn even when it’s raining and while inside.

Here’s where it gets a little more scientific.

There are two types of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that reach the surface of the earth from the sun. UVB rays are mostly responsible for producing sunburn, while UVA rays are mostly responsible for premature ageing. It is important to make sure your sunscreen offers broad spectrum protection from both.

Since UVA rays are longer than UVB, they penetrate deeper into the dermis where they damage the collagen fibres. This causes photo-ageing characterised by wrinkling, roughness, dryness, loss of firmness, and pigmentary changes.

Wearing sunscreen everyday can do more than prevent skin cancer. Studies show that it is the most powerful tool against anti-ageing. According to a large study undertaken by Australian researchers, regular use of sunscreen has been shown to prevent photo-damage by 24%. In theory, this would mean that if you wore sunscreen every day, then by the age of 50 you would look 38.

Bill McElligott
Truck driver William McElligott’s face is a graphic example of long-term sun damage. The left-hand side of the truck driver’s face was exposed to the sun through the window, the other shaded in the cab.

SPF 30 is more than twice as effective as SPF 15. Anything over SPF 50 will not provide any extra protection.

To reap these benefits, make sure that your sunscreen offers protection of SPF 30 as a minimum and wear it every single day. SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVA and UVB rays, while SPF 15 blocks 93%. While this may not seem like such a large difference, consider it this way: SPF 15 allows through 7% of UV radiation, while SPF 30 allows just 3%.

This means that SPF 30 is more than twice as effective as SPF 15. Anything over SPF 50, however, will not provide any extra protection.

Remember that UVA radiation is able to penetrate through clouds and glass, so it should be worn even when it’s raining and while inside. And working from home is no excuse. Incidental sun exposure accounts for 80% of lifetime sun exposure, meaning that the days you plan on spending time outside – going to the beach, or a long hike – accounts for just a fraction of total skin damage.

Twin Study Ageing
In a twin study on ageing in America, it was determined that Susan (right) looked 11.25 years older than her sister Jeanne (left). Susan has spent as much time as she could in the sun, averaging 10 hours outside more per week than Jeanne. Jeanne, however, has aimed for “as little sun exposure as possible” over the years.

Regular use of sunscreen has been shown to prevent photo-damage by 24%. Theoretically, this would mean that if you wore sunscreen every day, then by the age of 50 you would look 38.

That is why it is important to get into the habit of applying sunscreen as part of your morning routine. Activities like walking to your post box or hanging out the laundry accumulate damage over time, which all adds up to mean extra wrinkles that could have been avoided.

To increase your sunscreen’s efficacy, layer it over Vitamin C serum in the morning after cleansing. Vitamin C will provide a protective barrier against oxidative stress by slowing the ageing process.

As Australia’s cosmetic surgery rates surpass America’s, our obsession with social media and the current COVID-19 pandemic creates a minefield for those who struggle with disordered eating and body image issues.

 So far, 2020 has been a lot to process. In what will most likely be a once-in-a-lifetime historical event, the world has been totally affected by COVID-19 – a virus which has so far killed more than 264,000 people.

As Australia combats this, most of us have found ourselves on leave, unemployed or working from home. As the lockdowns have progressed many businesses have shut down and the nation’s gyms have not been immune.

In recent weeks, there has been a lot of content online focused on exercising from home, especially on Instagram, which has become flooded with posts about ‘body goals’, losing weight and becoming ‘healthier’ in quarantine.

The COVID-19 pandemic offers numerous triggers for those who are struggling with an eating disorder or those with distorted body image and low self-esteem.

“We understand that the prevalent discussions around stock-piling food, increased hygiene measures, food shortages and lock-ins can be incredibly distressing and triggering for people experiencing disordered eating or an eating disorder,” states The Butterfly Foundation in relation to COVID-19. 

When you combine these triggers with an increase in spare time to spend scrolling social media, such as Instagram, this can create the Perfect Storm.

Instagram and its tribe of entrepreneurs and models is no stranger to criticism from body positivity advocates, largely because the app is focused on images, a majority of which are highly edited. The concept of Instagram is the ideal social media app- share images and see images of your family and friends – plus your favourite celebrities, bridging the gap between fan and friend.

Instagram launched in 2010 and had 1 million users within two months, it has since been purchased by Facebook and become one of the largest social media platforms in the world.

The New Yorker journalist Jia Tolentino has talked extensively concerning the phenomenon of Instagram models, and their strikingly similar looks in ‘The Age of the Instagram Face’. 

She writes, “The gradual emergence, among professionally beautiful women, of a single, cyborgian face. It’s a young face, of course, with pore-less skin and plump, high cheekbones. It has catlike eyes and long, cartoonish lashes; it has a small, neat nose and full, lush lips.”

The commodification of women was once selling the products to make us beautiful, but as ‘Instagram Face’ rises and social media continues to excel, cosmetic surgery becomes more commonplace than it ever has been before.

Presently Australia’s cosmetic surgery numbers have surpassed America’s; in 2017 Australian’s spent more than 1 billion dollars on plastic surgery, surpassing America’s procedures per capita numbers, a feat considering America is often considered the ground zero for enhanced beauty.

Since when did this new prototype of a woman, a mish-mashed version, a high light reel built to bend over; a tiny waist, big lips, no blemishes- become the new standard of beauty, and how achievable is this?

Claire Finkelstein has been a clinical psychologist for fifteen years and is co-founder and co-director at Nourish.Nurture.Thrive, a multidisciplinary practise based in Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula that specialises in helping young people who struggle with eating disorders and body image.

Claire and fellow clinical psychologist, Ainsley Hudgson, started Nourish.Nurture.Thrive after years working in the public health system and seeing how overwhelmed it had become with a “growing population with eating disorder concerns,” says Claire.

Isolation, quarantine and an increase in social media can be very triggering for not only those who struggle with eating disorders but anyone who finds themselves feeling out of control in this stressful time.

“Everybody is showing their exercise routines at the moment, everybody is making those jokes about putting on weight during lockdown and I think it’s just incredibly triggering even for people with a fairly robust sense of self-confidence and body image but particularly for people who are in the eating disorder space,” says Claire.

The showing of exercise routines is found on Instagram amongst other social media, promoting diet culture.

Diet culture is defined as a system of beliefs that worship thinness and oppress people who don’t meet this beauty standard and idea of health. The one underlying fact for nearly all diets and wellbeing programs is that thin is best, demonizing certain food groups and body types, all while promoting the most important idea of them all; if you weren’t so lazy you’d have the body of your dreams.

“It feels like you can control your weight, so in a time when you feel out of control you try and control your weight and what we know is that your weight is biologically determined within a set point and that’s one of the difficulties – all these messages around ‘this is something we can do’ and if you’re not doing it successfully you’re inadequate and that is such a damaging, damaging story that is part of diet culture,” says Claire.

The infamous ‘beauty is pain’ mantra handed down to young girls from their mothers has a whole new meaning, the pain having grown from a waxing strip full of pubic hair to a surgery scar or a vigorous training regime.

Earlier this year glamour magazine Girls Girls Girls collaborated with Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon to create a video titled ‘Be a Lady they said’. The piece included various clips from movies, news, and glamour shots to tell the story of the myriad of requests and expectations women are meant to be adhering to, ironically the women featured in the video are beautiful, thin and passive.

One of the most impactful lines reads,

‘Be a size zero, be a double zero, be nothing, be less than nothing.’

Cynthia Nixon spits these words at the screen as it turns dark and the sound of someone’s heart flatlining takes up the darkness. It is powerful commentary on the notions behind our desires for female perfection and the gruesome control it creates.

As Naomi Wolf states in her classic, The Beauty Myth, published in 1990, obsession with beauty and thinness is a form of control and oppression.

“A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one,” says Wolf.

The US health and weight loss industry is worth an estimated $72 billion and Australians are estimated to spend $452.5 million on weight-loss counselling services (and the low-calorie foods and dietary supplements that go with it) in 2019-2020.

These figures show what has been in the shadows all along – this business is big money built off the back of diet culture. A truth hid underneath the bright lights of Instagram, the ‘life updates’ and the relatable posts – the influencers who make you feel like a family, like you could look like them if you had the grit – when you’re just a customer.

 Resources and coping mechanisms

For those who are spending a lot of time online and feel triggered by the change in routine, there are ways to seek help, guidance and support.

The Butterfly Foundation suggests that stretching, light exercise, talking to a loved one, drawing, being creative and mindfulness techniques can help you support your health and wellbeing during this crisis and stop negative body thoughts.

Their Helpline is also open on webchat, email or phone from 8am-midnight, 7 days a week.

Claire Finkelstein from Nourish.Nurture.Thrive admits boycotting social media is unrealistic, especially as it is one of our main sources for communicating with the outside world, however, she does recommend an ‘audit’ of who you follow.

“Use social media to connect rather than compare, use it to engage with people who are important to you, who you feel supported by, who give you a laugh who make you smile, who make you more connected and less alone and try to engage less with social media that leaves you feeling terrible afterwards,” says Claire.

Unfollowing accounts that make you feel inadequate or leave you feeling unhappy and starting to follow body positive accounts instead can stop that downward spiral of self-loathing many of us find triggered by social media.

“Research shows if you have a diverse imagery, diverse bodies, diverse beauty, or other images like architecture, animals or whatever makes you feel good – that that can really dilute the impact, the negative impact of imagery that doesn’t make you feel good,” says Claire.

Below are resources for those who need help.

The Butterfly Foundation:

T: 1800 33 4673

W: https://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/

Beyond Blue:

T: 1300 22 4636

W: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/national-help-lines-and-websites